Regarding our new Prime Minster. By Yilma Bekele

September 29th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

There is no place on planet earth that begs for change like our country. There is no need to itemize all the areas where we stand at the tail end of human achievement. That is the bad news. The good news is we can’t get any lower than where we are at now thus the only way for us is up.

It is obvious that we have all what it takes to improve and make life better for our people. We are blessed with a vibrant and colorful population; we possess a beautiful land with plenty of water and untapped resources waiting to be exploited. The ugly and troubling political situation that has engulfed our ancient land the last forty years has forced us to migrate outwards. It is true it has caused plenty of pain and misery to the vast majority of our people. On the other hand it has created its own dynamic too. Today we have managed to acquire real practical knowledge that can be harvested to help our country transition from agricultural to industrial society within a short period of time.

In short there seems to be no reason why our beautiful nation is known for famine, poverty and always on the verge of civil war. The reason we are stuck in this never ending cycle of non- achievement is lack of a political system that enhances our positive aspect. The political condition is our Achilles heel. Our Political system is what is dragging our country down.
The death of Meles Zenawi has opened a new chapter for our country to move forward. I do not need to itemize the many negative qualities of the late tyrant here. The economic, social and psychological state our country finds itself after twenty years of misrule is proof enough. Our new year has brought us a new Prime Minster.

I, with the vast majority of our people wish nothing more than Ato Hailemariam Desalegn to succeed in his new role. Success means a peaceful, prosperous Ethiopia where the citizen is not afraid of his government and is free to pursue happiness. Success means an Ethiopia where equality of all reigns, Human Right is assured and our children are free to achieve their potential.

Is it possible Hailemariam could be the agent of change we so dream and desire? Is this a realistic dream or some kind of delusion our mind is trying to conjure so as to force current circumstances fit reality. I am aware that it usually is not good to be a naysayer. I also understand blaming the messenger of bad news is a common human condition. Blindly going along to preserve peace when the situation does not warrant is also a disservice even between friends let alone a country.

During the Wild West days of the US economic boom of the 1990’s Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan talked about the dangers of what he called ‘irrational exuberance’ that was permeating Wall Street. His frank talk was seen as unnecessary caution. His fear was realized in one of the worst economic downturn the US has seen.

Is the current tendency to blindly wish Ato Hailemariam success despite circumstances not under his control a good idea or is it a recipe for failure due to ‘irrational exuberance’? Is this business of predicting the future based on the past a reasonable idea? If we believe that is a rational assumption I believe looking at the individual’s practices in the recent past could give us clues to how he will deal with his new position of power and authority.

Ever since his election to the position of Prime Minister we have been able to have a glimpse of his style of work while climbing the ladder of leadership. The fact that he has gained his past positions due to appointment rather than being elected makes it a little difficult to know him close and personal. The fact that he was elected to the Presidency of his Kilil is not an indication of real democracy at work. Elections in Ethiopia are mostly affairs of coronation. It is enough to mention the 99.6 landslide by Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) the dominant party and its affiliates in the 2010 elections to see the farce. He did not have to share his views with the citizen but only satisfy the requirements of those that anointed him making our job a little harder.

He has served as assistant Dean and Dean of Arba Minch Water Technology Institute (Now Arba Minch University) until he became Vice President then President of Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) which was followed by Membership to the House of people’s Representatives, advisor to Meles Zenawi and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. From his autobiography I was able to gather he has never worked in the private sector either as wage earner or entrepreneur.

Ato Hailemariam still is Chairman of Southern Ethiopian people’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). It should be noted here that SEPDM like its counter parts such as Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) among others is the creation of TPLF. As a matter of fact the TPLF under Meles Zenawi choose the leaders and run the party’s as a wholly owned subsidiary. (Please read Jawar Mohammed’s article about the growing pains OPDO has faced since the death of dictator Meles)

Ato Hailemariam came into leadership of SNNPR upon the fall of Ato Abate Kisho that made the mistake of siding with Seye Abrha’s splinter group during the TPLF internal struggle. It is fair to conclude that his elevation to the Presidency of SNNPR from 2002-2005 was a show of gratitude by Meles and his TPLF. The following paragraph is taken from Wikipedia entry about our new PM.

‘After his tenure as President of the SNNPR, Hailemariam worked in the Prime Minister’s Office as the advisor on Social Affairs and Civic Organizations and Partnerships for two years. He led the team that drafted the Charities and Societies Proclamation law (CSO law) that limits the interference of international NGO’s in local political activities. The law was adopted by Ethiopian Parliament in 2009. He is also credited in pushing EPRDF re-organize its structure after 2005 elections in ’1-to-5′ model (one member recruits five new people – አንድ ለአምስት አደረጃጀት) that boosted the number of party membership from 400,000 to 5 million by 2010 elections.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hailemariam_Desalegn
Please note this law that went into effect in 2009 was denounced by Amnesty International, CIVICUS, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and Human Rights Watch as ‘stifling human rights work’ in Ethiopia. Thanks to the work of Ato Hailemariam the courts were able to freeze bank assets of Human Rights Council (HRCO) the oldest human rights organization in the country and had crippling effect on such organizations as Ethiopian women Lawyers Association (EWLA) including Save the Children Sweden among many others. It is safe to conclude he has served TPLF admiringly.

It is fair to say Ato Hailemariam Desalegn was again elected into the current position he holds by TPLF and its affiliates. It is also fair to say none of the leaders of these parties or organization were elected by the Ethiopian people in a fair and open contest. Regardless of this irrefutable fact in front of us the reality of the matter is we are stuck with him at his point in our history.

There are discussions on how to deal with this new reality in front of us. There are some that are advocating giving the new PM ‘time’. Some are saying what is there to expect from someone that came to power not by the will of the people? Quite a few are convinced what we are witnessing is reshuffle not change- it is expressed in Amharic as ‘Gulitcha bilewawetu’ situation. As usual our country has entered a very confusing and uncertain future. Accepting something knowing the chances it will succeed to be nil is cowardice while pointing out the futility of the situation and trying to change it is seen as being a naysayer even narrow.

To those who say ‘let us give him time’ the simple question would be to do what? If he was willing to serve a leader (Meles) and a party (TPLF) that ruled with an iron hand, if he was willing to be used as a tool in the degradation of his own southern region and people, and if he was willing and enthusiastic in formulating such a draconian policy (Charities law among others) that restricted independent Human Rights work, why in the world do we hold any hope that he will change his tune once in position of authority?

Furthermore there is this little issue of who actually is in charge here? Chairman Mao said ‘power comes from the barrel of the gun.’ George Washington, Nelson Mandela, Jomo Kenyatta among others that gained their freedom by the barrel all agree with this proposition. It seems like the saying is still valid today. In our country the TPLF party is in charge of the military, state security service, the Federal Police, the Bank, major business entities, all media including television, radio, newspaper, Internet, telecommunications and Foreign affairs. What in the world can a Prime Minster do without the control of these key organizations even if he wanted to?

As I wrote earlier the past is a powerful tool to look at the future. It looks like Prime Minister’s Hailemariam resume does not bode well for our country. We are hoping he will change his mode of operation even though we have no data to indicate that to be possible. On the other hand his meek service the last fifteen years to those that held power in complete disregard to the wishes of our people shows the individual to lack independent initiative and a tendency to be used against his people’s interest.

I realize this to be un- pleasant conclusion that has a disturbing effect on our morale. I also believe one should follow the facts where ever that might lead to. It was not long ago when a rag tag army deposed of a hated military regime and we all cheered. We all wanted change and ascribed our wishes and dreams on the new leaders. ‘’Give them time’’ was the cry of the many. Time proved us all wrong. We paid a heavy price. After twenty long years we find ourselves where we started. My simple question is shouldn’t we learn from the past and prescribe a new medicine this time around? As Lincoln said “you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

  1. Tarik A.
    | #1

    I have read what you wrote very carefully. Infact my first thought was that I would get a better insight about the new prime minister. But it was just a waste of time reading your rubbish ‘article’. You tried to picture yourself as someone who knows better by quoting some world leaders’ speeches, but the reality seems a lot different. It’s either you’re in a vicious cirlce of self deception being too blind to see the outright facts or just you know nothing about what you wrote.

  2. Tamrat A
    | #2

    Dear Abugida: Isn’t the piece below interesting?
    The road ahead
    I have serious doubts that the proposed deal between moderates and the ruling minority party will be handled in good faith. A scandal of national proportions may be in the offing. A major point of contention will be on who should take the top job. One could conjecture at least three personality traits for contenders for the post (assuming PM Meles will forego his position, though I strongly believe he will retain his power.) The choices will more than likely revolve around a political ape (with no principles whatsoever); an “outsider” (to give an air of impartiality but really intent on disempowering contenders); and a credible and competent individual. The first choice will be hastily rejected; the last, alas, will be sidelined. The second choice will assume power, albeit, as a detached and impotent functionary. Democratic practices will continue to elude us as long as an ethnic minority party is in power. In other words, it is futile to think for a moment that TPLF-led government will ever reform itself to accommodate the demands of a democratic society for the same reason that the Derg government by its very design could not entertain an alternative to
    its rule. There are issues of transparency, accountability, rule of law, etc, which incumbents have consistently failed to abide by. Democracy by its very nature upholds majority rule and hence rejects minority rule of every stripe. Public distrust and disdain for the party in power is rampant. Removing these roadblocks will inevitably drive incumbents out of office. I don‟t see that happening in the immediate future short of a schism within the ruling party ranks. After all, a lot is at stake for the ruling minority—not least of which is loss of personal and “party” fortune and revelation of secret deals undertaken in the name of a long suffering and unsuspecting Ethiopians. Here is what I am getting at: the unreformable Derg had to disband for a new condition to emerge. That episode, sadly, was squandered because foreigners mediated the ….
    http://www.tecolahagos.com/IndianOceanLetter%20(1).pdf

  3. booster
    | #3

    the woyane persecution of amharas continues.

    ”We in the SMNE strongly disavow any right of any oppressed group to use their past oppression as an excuse to tyrannize or
    subjugate others; yet, this is exactly what the TPLF has done, in company with the EPRDF. It is epitomized in the recent case of
    a young person who applied to Addis Ababa University but was rejected because the “quota” for Amharas had been met rather
    than accepting students based on merit, giftedness, academic credentials and drive. One’s ethnicity should never give you preferred
    status or be the basis of rejection. This is wrong and immoral”

    http://www.ethiopianreview.com/2011/An-Open-Letter-to-Prime-Minister-Hailemariam-Desalegn-Fl.pdf

  4. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #4

    It may be a good idea to give this man a chance to show himself as a leader of the country as a whole. Leading a country is a lot more complex than having ruled a region that is the most underdeveloped part of the nation. We have seen it here in the USA when some revered state governors falling by the way running for the presidency during the primary season. But there is still one story that has been bothering me since this man was elected to the deputy PM office by the late leader. Correct me if I am wrong on this one. Was it not there a story, a terrible one which took place in some towns of the region he was heading or at least as a member of the leadership in and around 2002? Didn’t I read a story of mass killings of peaceful demonstrators in that southern region on various websites of the Diaspora among us? I believe human rights organization such as Amnesty International and others alike had cried foul about the shooting of civilians. Was it investigated and if so what happened to it? Where was this man at the time of the killings? He might have atoned for what happened then. As far I am concerned, statute of limitation does not apply when it comes to the loss of human lives and crime was committed in the process. The other important thing I always keep in mind is goes by the old saying: Tell me with whom you walk and I will tell you what you do and who you are. If Joseph Goebbels tells me he goes with Hitler, I can tell what he had done, that he killed more than 6 million Jews, about a million Serbs and millions others in cold blood. If Rodolfo Graziani tells me that he and Benito Mussolini were buddies I can without a doubt tell him that he had ruthlessly killed more 3 million Ethiopians and tens of thousands of Libyans. But still I believe PM HD has the chance to redeem himself and do things related to human and democratic rights in different, inclusive and tolerant ways. I will sit back and watch him doing his things for now.

  5. The Eritrean one!
    | #5

    I was so optimistic about the new prime minister but now after only a few weeks I’m so pessimistic. As I follow his body language and interviews he seems to be caught between so much deadly animals. Everything that he says seems as a tape recorging playing. I wish he would be a brave man to come out and say, “I’M A LEADER OF THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE AND WITH THE HELP OF GOD I WILL LEAD THIS ANCIENT NATION TO A BETTER FUTURE WITH MY OWN CHOSEN ADVISORS AND LEADERS”.

  6. aha!
    | #6

    Let us start from your theisis statement “Our political system is what drags our country down”. How do you define that political system without invoking ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies built into the constitution as ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism, ideologies that are hindering individual freedom, liberty and equality tp precede ethnic and secessionist rights, free market capitalism along with private ownership of land, Ethipian Nationalism, the Sovereignity of Ethiopia and democracy to the silent majority of Ethiopians, available to TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises and foreign corporations. Is this the “political system”, not to mention the economic model of State Capitalism you have in mind?

    The way I look at it is a question of freedom, liberty and equality, rather than ethnic rights and equality that should take center stage to tip balance from the negative forces of disinitegration to the positive forces of integration to restore Ethiopian Nationalism and the sovereignity of Ethiopia from a government led by TPLF Polit burro of exliberation fronts as teltafi (ethnic federalist) parties with a constitution of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism and the digruntled ethnic secessionist front like OLF, etc. with alignments along ethnic agenda, that need to be replaced with the national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians as a way to lift the burden from the silent majority of Ethiopians.

  7. Johnatan
    | #7

    What is wrong with you people? Everytime something good happen in your country you try to to disrupt it. Are you listening to your self. I am sure as hell more than 95% of ethiopians donot support your view. Why do you criticize the goverment for your for your own failures. I have seen ethiopia in 3 different regimes but this one is whole lot better than all of them combined. You dont want to believe it but you know it. And you said tha ethiopia is at the tail end of nations but have you ever considered other countries. Countries with continous civil war, countries who actually oppress their people(arab state). Or do you just like to pick on anyone who is doing more meaning ful job to its people than you? If that is so you are an idiot.

  8. Gult
    | #8

    I am a new Internet user thanks to my new cellphone bought after 7 years of work and got the chance reading such articles, analysis and critics of very concerned issues. I do really appreciate and like it. But, in almost the articles I read, though very constructive, despite of the critics, I couldn’t figure out an alternative opinions, suggestions and/or any other positive actions need to be taken as a correction.

  9. Anonymous
    | #9

    ……እንካችሁ እስኪ….በአካባቢያችን ያለ አንድ በጣም ጫማው የሚሸት ወጣት የ አንበሳ ጣት ግድንግድ የወላይታ ልጅ አለ:: እና ይህን ከልክ ያለፈ የጫማው ጠረን ከቤቱ አልፎ አካባቢን አስቸግሮ ኖሮ: ከቔራዎች ድርጅት የሚመጣውን ሽታ የሚያፍነው መሳሪያ :እሱ እግር ላይ ይገጠምለት እየተባለ ሁሉ ሲወራ ድረስ በደንብ ሰምቻለሁ::እና : አስታውሳለሁ እንደውም ቤቱ ከመግባቱ በፊት ጫማውን አውልቆ ጣሪያቸው ላይ እንደሚያሳድረው. …. … ..እና.. ታዲያ ..ከሆነ ቀን አንድ እለት እንዲህ ሆነ …የሰፈር ግዋደኞቹ ተሰብስበው በሚቅሙበት…. ቤት ዘው ብሎ መግባት>>> ወግ ደርሶት ወርዶ ሊቃም ብሎም ሊደሰኮር መሆኑ ነው….ውስጥ የነበሩት ልጆች ምን ያድርጉ…ውጣ እንዳይባል. ነገር .. ይሉኝታ ያዛቸው ::ግዋደኛቸውም ነው:ከሶስቱ ሁለቱ …ቅጠል ብጤ በጠስ አድርገው :አፍጫቸው ላይ እንደ ነጭ ሽንኩርት ሸነቆሩት….ሽታው ከተነሳ ..ማስታገሻ ይኦን ዘንድ በሚል….ከበሃከላቸው አንዱ ትንሽ ተንኮለኛ ነገር ነበር እና …ለልጁ እንዲህ ሲል በ ማስፈራሪያ አዘል ጥያቔ ጠየቀው …..ምን የሚል ይመስላችህዋል….እግርህን ወደኛ ከዘረጋህ ዘንዳ ..እነኚህን 4 ሰንደሎች ለኩስልሃለሁ ወስደህ የአውራ ጥፍሮችህ ላይ ሰካ ብሎት ቁጭ…..

  10. Kiflu Hussain
    | #10

    Yilma echoed my sentiments exactly about this dude called Hailemariam.Concerning the “irrational exuberance” of some of our naive fellows who are incorrigibly reluctant to learn from history, perhaps the Amharic saying “YECHENEKEW ERGUZ YAGEBAL,” i.e. “A desperate man marries an already pregnant woman” says it all.

  11. እንቅልፍ ለምኔ
    | #11

    አይተ መለስ በየት ዞሮ መጣ?! ተሞተም ወዲያ ልሳኑ በራቀና በደክመ ሁኔታ በ ‘ልጁ’ ሃይለማሪያም በኩል ይሰማል

    ተደቡብ የመጣው የዘመኑ ዮሃንስ ሁለተኛ ቤተ መንግስት ገብቶ በዘመኑ ሚካእል ስሁሎች በክር መዘውር እየተሽከረከረ ይዘፍናል

    ታሪክ እራስዋን ትደግማለች መጀመርያ እንደትራዠዲ በሁአላ እንደ ባዶ ድራማ ይባል የለ? (History repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce) ጥቅስ ከ ካርል ማርክስ

  12. love
    | #12

    Once again, TPLF is rallying the Protestants and Muslims because of hatred of Orthodox and Amaras. This will for sure will give mass me mbership to TPLF groups that is why they appointed a Protestant and Muslim to please the West and Arab world and most of all Eritrea. not based on merit. This will give unprecedented support of the Muslims and increasing Protestants to further divide and alienate segement of groups while in the back TPLF will use these elected officials as remote control to do what they want.

  13. Gudetta
    | #13

    Whateever is done by the government is negativ.Desalegn PM,and Demeke VPM not based on merit.For sure you were living longtime out of Ethiopia.You have no idea of the economy growth.The reality is EPRDF has the support of 90% of Ethiopians.The new Ethiopia differed from the too much centralised ethiopia you are dreaming to restore.The multi-ethnic federalism is now deeply rooted and it is impossible to dismantle.So stop dreaming.

  14. Nomara
    | #14

    As long as he s no neftgna I am happy.I would rather be colonized ny Kenya than be ruled by devil shoans

  15. Anonymous
    | #15

    Poor Nomara! Another brainwashed moron Woyane! Ethiopia have been under the ruthless TPLF regime for over two decades, and yet go back to blame others while Ethiopia is in the midst of burning TPLF inferno. For your information: Rich Neftegnas came from Amhara, Eritrea, Guragae, Oromo, Tigrea and Wollo provinces. I feel sorry for your tortured soul that is filled with so much hate and racism that was fed to you by the two bloodsucker cousins — Issayass and Melass. No one is more devilish than your own TPLF thugs– not in Ethiopia or in the world! You name it, every despicable crime in the book have been committed on innocent Ethiopians at the hands of TPLF. TPLF are the ones that left Ethiopia landlocked, looted Ethiopia and slaughtered millions of Ethiopians.

  16. ETI
    | #16

    @love
    I wonder what would be your reaction if the PM was a Muslim Oromo or Somali? Although these people were under the rule oF Amara othodox for 120 years.

  17. Zerayakob Yared
    | #17

    ኣይተ/ወይዘሮ love,

    እዋእ!, ድሓን’ዶ ዓዲ !?

    መቃወምም እኮ እየተስተዋለ ነው!

    Please, let us not be a ተራ መደዴ!

    ማንኛውም ኢትዮጵያዊ ዜጋ, እምዬ ኢትዮጵያን እየወደደ, በማንኛውም ኢትዮጵያን የሚመለከት ጉዳይ ላይ የመሳተፍ ሃላፊነትና ግዴታም አለበት:: እስከ መንገስ ድረስ!

    ኢትዮጵያ ማለት: ጠበብ ሲል, ጠቅላላው ምድረ ፅዮን ከሽረ እንከ ኡጋዴን, ሰፋ ሲልም በንግስታችን ሳባ ይሁንብንና, ከኑባ እስከ ማደጋስካር ብለን እንበለው:: እንዲህ ስንል, ግዛት አስፍቸ ካልተገኘሁኝ ሞቸ እገኛለሁ ከሚል የመስፋፋት ስሜት ሳይሆን, ለማንኛውም ነገርን ሁሉ ሰፋ አድርጎ መጨበጡና በተገኘውም አጋጣሚ ሁሉ የተቻለውን ያህል ወገንን ማቀፉ ይበጃል-ይሻላል ከሚል የ’love ስሜት ብቻ ነው;; በሌላ ቦታ እንዳልነው: በተለይም ላቮች, FORM እና CONTENT’ን የማጣመር ግዴታ አለባቸው!

    ከዚህ አባባላችን ምክኒያት ተነስተው የሚቀየሙን ከሓሓይለ እስከ ጭላ ውጭ የተፈጠሩ ወንድሞቻችን/እህቶቻችን (ውስጥም የተወለዱ,በተለይም ይሓውያኖች በአሁኑ ስዓታት ላይ ግን የማሳዋ ኮንትሮባዲስቶቹ)እንደሌሉ ተስፋ እንደርጋለን!!

    ሁላችንም በያለንበት አይዞን!

  18. seercix
    | #18

    The man was a hand-picked by the would be his mentor who himself was the crime-boss in a cell within a criminal organization,and was a bandit and a bank robber, chewed and gulped khat by day,and masticated by night like animal,was void of courage;just male by gender but not a man.

    So,will this,the man stand for his own rights before he even speaks for other’s basic universal rights that he should first fight and get it for himself? For the next several years Halemarima Desalegn was subliminally conditioned to the commands and lies of Zenawi with a method distinctively suitable to making Hailemariam Desalegn submissive and order taker,and a delivery man.With carrot and stick approach,Zenawi successfully shaped and formed Hailemariam Desalegn to what he is today.

    To begin with,Hailemariam Desalegn did really misunderstand himself;frankly speaking,he is in a state of confussion;now,this is really odd.Who do Hailemariam Desalegn takes order from and report to? The question is not who is Hailemariam Desalegn;rather,the just question is,who is the boss?

    Obviously,Hailemariam Desalegn is enjoying the feel-good moment;subsequently,was assigned to the first role to going to Somalia as a prime minster,while Barakat Simon flew to China to meet and discuss on him taking up the role play as both Zenawi and seum Mesfin on behave of the core members of Hiwhat.Why wasn’t Hailemariam Desalegn to china and Barakat Simon to Somalia?

    Hailemariam Desalegn doesn’t have the engine of his;he is powered by the command and order of Barakat Simon and Seum Mesfin.A jolt of commands and order to crank him up until he breaks down.

  19. መፈጃጀት?
    | #19

    ኮሪያው ዘማች አጎትህ ለማን እንደሞቱ የረሳህ ይመስላል? ኮንጎ በለው ኮሪያ ያሁኑንም ሱማሌ ጣልቃ ግብነት ብትደምረው ያው በገሌ ብላለች?
    ወያኔ ደርግን ጥሎ እንዲገባ ሲደረግም ያው ኮሪያ ፖሊሲ ነውና ሃይለማርያምን ስትወቅስ የማንን ፖሊሲ እንደተቃወምህ ረሳህ ማለት ነው?

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